- 2B, SS, 3B, 1B, DH, LF, OF
- October 10, 1975
- 5' 10"
- 190 lbs
- Major League Debut:
- 7-03-1998 with SLN
- Allstar Selections:
- 2006 ALCS, 2007 GG, 2007 SS, 2009 GG
He is a third baseman, but in the past has played second base and shortstop. He was twice voted to start in Major League Baseball All-Star Games: in 2007, and again in 2011.
In a July 9, 2008, ceremony at Comerica Park prior to the Tigers–Indians game, Polanco received his U.S. citizenship, along with 99 other people. He wore his Tigers uniform for the ceremony
Drafted on June 2, 1994, by the Cardinals in the 19th round of the 1994 Major League Baseball Draft, Polanco was promoted to the major leagues in 1998. His first major league hit was a single off Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Brett Tomko on July 5, 1998. Earning the starting third base job in 2001, his low strikeout/walk ratio and extra base hits numbers established Polanco as a contact hitter. His career at-bats per strikeout ratio (14.04) ranks second only to Chicago White Sox outfielder Juan Pierre (16.49) among active players.
On July 29, 2002, Polanco, Mike Timlin, and Bud Smith were acquired by the Phillies for Scott Rolen, Doug Nickle, and cash. Polanco was shifted to second base as David Bell was signed from free agency to play third base. He began to develop power while playing for the Phillies as he hit 14 and 17 home runs in the following two years, compared with just nine in 2002. He became a free agent following the 2004 season and was rumored to be returning to the Phillies.
When David Bell arrived to play third in 2003, Polanco moved to second; when he returned to the Phils in 2010, it was back to third
The Phillies did sign Polanco for 2005, but sent him to the Tigers in June 2005 in a trade for veteran right-hander Ugueth Urbina and infielder Ramón Martínez, allowing the Phillies to play Chase Utley every day at second base. Polanco finished the 2005 season batting .338 with the Tigers, and also having a career year with regards to OPS, finishing the season at .847. In addition, he led the majors in lowest strikeout percentage (5.0%) for the season.
Polanco was a key player in the 2006 American League Division Series and 2006 American League Championship Series (ALCS) for the Tigers, being named Most Valuable Player of the ALCS. However, he did not record a single hit in the 2006 World Series, in which the Tigers lost to the Cardinals in five games.
In 2007, Polanco set a new Major League record for 2nd basemen by playing in his 144th consecutive errorless game on August 13, in a 7–2 loss to the Oakland Athletics. Curt Flood currently holds the record for consecutive errorless games with 226, but he played center field. Polanco appeared to have his streak snapped at 147 games when he was charged with an error in the first inning of the August 24 game vs. the New York Yankees. However, the next day, after conferring with the umpiring crew, the official scorer determined the error was instead charged to first baseman Marcus Thames. This extended the streak to 149 games. Polanco also broke the record for consecutive chances without an error by a second baseman on July 31. He passed Luis Castillo's mark of 647. Polanco finished the 2007 season without making an error, thereby becoming the first everyday second baseman in MLB history to play an entire season without committing an error. This in addition to contributing to 101 double plays, earned Polanco his first Gold Glove Award.
In addition to his fielding feats, Polanco batted a career-high .341 in 2007, and reached a career high in hits with 200. He also had the lowest strikeout percentage in the major leagues (5.1%). For his efforts, he was given the Silver Slugger award at second base. He was voted by the fans to start in the 2007 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, his first one. At the end of the season, he was voted by the fans as the 2007 MLB "This Year in Baseball Awards" Defensive Player of the Year.
Polanco won another Gold Glove Award in 2009. After declaring free agency, Polanco signed a three-year contract for $18 million to return to the Phillies, with an mutual option for a fourth year. He was signed with the Phillies to replace Pedro Feliz at third base.
In 2011, Polanco was elected by fan balloting to be the starting third baseman in the All-Star game. He was unable to play in the All-Star game due to an injury, and Scott Rolen replaced him in the starting lineup.
Polanco and wife Lily have a daughter, Aide Rose, and a son, Ismael. He is a close friend of former teammate and current Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols, who is godfather to Polanco's son Ismael.
During the 2008 season, while with the Detroit Tigers, he became a naturalized American citizen, taking the oath of citizenship at Comerica Park prior to a game against the Cleveland Indians.
- Placido Polanco